KOCHI: The state government on Tuesday submitted before the Kerala High Court that it wants to implement the Supreme Court verdict in the Piravom church case in a phased manner and without bloodshed.
It also said that while implementing the order, the state and police will respect the religious right and sentiments of all believers. The state made the submission in response to a petition filed by the Orthodox faction of St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church (Piravom Valiya Palli) seeking police protection to conduct mass and prayers in the church. The police had made several attempts to implement the verdict. On December 10, 2018, the police had reached the spot to implement the order. More than 2,000 Jacobite faction members created a human wall and prevented the entry of priests and followers of the Orthodox faction. According to the police, as it was a holy place, there was a restriction on the part of the police in using force.
“Had a forceful entry been allowed, it was sure to have resulted in loss of lives. So, the district administration and the police decided to withdraw from taking any forceful action for the time being, the state submitted.
When the petition came up for hearing, senior advocate P Ravindran, counsel for the Jacobite faction, submitted that everyone accepted the 1834 constitution of the Malankara Church and there was no law and order issue in the Church for the past one year. If the Orthodox faction files an affidavit stating that they also accept the spiritual superiority of the patriarch, the issue will be settled. To which senior advocate S Sreekumar, counsel for the Orthodox faction, submitted that the dissident faction was trying to precipitate the issue and everyone was bound to follow the Supreme Court order.
The state government only wants the dissident group to be protected. Anybody who has faith in the Church will be permitted to enter the church. If the government can’t implement the verdict using police force, there are other forces like Central Reserve Police Force. The aid of CRPF should be sought for the implementation of the order, the counsel argued.
Meanwhile, the Division Bench headed by A M Shaffiq reserved its order on the petition seeking police protection.
Response to petition
The state made the submission in response to a petition filed by the Orthodox faction of St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church (Piravom Valiya Palli) seeking police protection to conduct mass and prayers in the church